#4057: Heatless Jeep
...I was thinking about this yesterday, on my way home from work. I've rarely had a vehicle in which the heat didn't work.
For the first few years of my driving career, back when I had The Blue Bomb, having AC was a distant fantasy for me. That post tells the tale of the Bomb, so I don't need to reiterate it here. But the heat worked; except for the minor fact that GM put the blower motor so far inside the dash as to make it virtually inaccessable. In 1984 the thing started blowing fuses when the motor was on, and the mechanic's cheapest solution was to splice the motor wiring so that I had two speeds, high and off.
Replacing the blower motor would have required either removing the dash or cutting a hole in the inner fender, neither of which was an attractive alternative for me. These days, cars have their HVAC blower motor in an obvious and easily replaceable location, but it was not always thus. But it stayed warm in the car in winter.
My next car--which I really used concurrently with the Bomb--was the VW 412. That thing had a gaping hole in the driver's side floor, and it was air-cooled to boot, but it had an auxiliary heater under the back seat that sipped gasoline from the main tank. On the coldest night of 1989, I was driving it home from the bowling alley at which my friends had congregated for their usual Friday night gathering, and it was toasty warm in there even with the huge hole.
The 1977 Impala--both AC and heat worked fine for the 18 months that I drove it, before buying my first new car, which was a 1991 Escort with both AC and heat that worked perfectly. (And which, if it failed, was someone else's job to fix. Go go manufacturer's warranty.)
Same with the 1993 T-bird and 1995 Escort...up until 2003.
On my way home from the family Thanksgiving celebration in--1999? 2000? 2001?--I hit something laying in the road. I have no idea what it was, only that it was some sort of animal; it was dead when I hit it. It bent the radiator support and cracked one of the (plastic) side tanks; I didn't realize it at the time because it was a very slow leak, and in fact it wasn't until autumn 2003 that I did anything at all about it. I replaced the radiator and--since I had the cooling system apart--replaced the thermostat. The car was going on 90,000 miles, so it was about time anyway.
To this day I have no idea if the thermostat was defective or what. You can't really put a thermostat in wrong; they're designed to fit one way, and if you somehow manage to cram it in backwards the car will overheat. I had the opposite problem: the car ran dead cold all the time...and had no heat whatsoever.
On my way home from a D&D session in early 2004--if not my last with that group, then then penultimate one--it had snowed heavily the day before, delaying my return by a day, and it was bitterly cold. And I had no heat.
I stopped about a third of the way home and crammed some cardboard in front of the radiator, covering about half of it, and still no heat, so I stopped again and covered the entire radiator--and got a little heat. Whatever was up with the thermostat, it was wide freakin' open and my engine was running dead cold. I lived with it the rest of that winter, and when spring came I put in another thermostat and got my heat back, just in time for summer...but from that point on the car had heat and everything worked fine, up until Dec 5, 2005 when the car was totaled.
I suppose it is possible that I was sold the wrong thermostat. The first one I put in the car fit the housing perfectly and was a virtual duplicate of the one it replaced, but it might have been the wrong temperature or something. Anyway, I'd rather have a car run dead cold for months than overheat once.
Red Escort--everything worked fine on it, both before and after the engine swap.
So then we have the Jeep. Prior to blowing a hose last November the heat was so hot in the thing it was like to roast my feet when it was on. During the big blizzard when I was picking up my Ruger I had to run the defroster on max to keep my windshield clear, and had to open a window to keep from roasting.
But that radiator hose blew out...and after I fixed it, and changed the thermostat, I had little or no heat.
I flushed the heater core using the method linked here but it didn't work, which means I'm going to have to go do it again.
Now, according to the temp gauge the engine's warming up just fine, and staying warm--a bit cooler than before I changed the thermostat but not too far off the mark--so the problem must be in the flow of coolant through the heater core. I get a little bit of heat as long as I don't turn the blower up too high, which means it's not some cold air door staying open when it should be shutting; if that were the case, it'd be f-ing cold in the cab even after driving a while, and that's not so.
So, I get to fix it again, and the sooner I do it the sooner I'll have heat. On the plus side, as I am now working, I have the money I need to buy fresh coolant and whatever else I need.
I have some PVC fittings to plug into the radiator hoses, so I can fill the engine with hose water and let it run for a while after the flushing is done. Hopefully that will de-sludge and de-crud things sufficiently enough that I can refill with fresh coolant and have a fully functioning heater again.
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DOOM! starts off with 37 reasons the economic recovery is "a fraud" and believe me, that link is full of a shitton of not-good information.
The fact that I have a job does not mean everything is magically better. I haven't been commenting on the economy because I'm too busy trying to hold down a job to spend a lot of time on blogging, but nothing has changed. The government is still gaming the statistics and everything is still massively shitty and things are still going to get worse before they get better, because they have to. That's baked into the cake already, and all the monetary games in the world can only delay the inevitable.
The press and the liberal establishment (BIRM) (But I Repeat Myself) spent the entirety of the Bush administration talking down the economy, trying to make everyone think that everything was massively shitty...and it worked because everyone knows someone who's out of work or underemployed even when--as was the case through 2006--the economy is screaming along at maximum employment. The libs could shout, "Recession! Recession! Recession!" every night and it would gain some traction with the general populace, because things weren't as good as they were even half a decade earlier; people could look at the situation and say, "Yeah, it's probably not as bad as they're saying on TV, but things really are not very good right now."
The press and the liberal establishment (BIRM) have spent the entirety of the Obama administration thus far talking up the economy and screaming, "Recovery! Recovery! Recovery!" and trying to make everyone think that everything is just peachy keen now...and it's failing because things are not fine and everyone knows it. Unemployment is massive, and the numbers are gamed such that only the terminally clueless think they're real. The stock market is soaring only because the fed has safety wired the printing presses to "emergency maximum", and quantitative easing is inflating stock prices. Interest rates are in the toilet, unemployment is widespread and rampant, no one has any money for anything, and health insurance prices are skyrocketing thanks to the government seizure of 1/6th of the economy under Obamacare.
...Obamacare, which is itself such an unbridled success that no one in the liberal establishment dares call it that any longer lest some shred of responsibility adhere to Obama and the Democrats. They're not even calling it by its official name, "Affordable Care Act", because it's obvious that it's neither affordable nor care. (Nor action, come to think of it.)
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It's that time of year! Mrs. Fungus and I went out to dinner tonight and listened to Christmas carols on the radio, at least until Madonna came on with "Santa Baby", at which point I shut it off.
Dinner was nothing terribly expensive; there's a Mexican restaurant just inside the Indiana border which serves delicious and authentic Mexican food, and it's quite reasonably priced. Tuesday night is chicken fajita night--chicken fajitas are half price with purchase of a regular price entree--so Mrs. Fungus usually gets whatever she wants and I have that. Just the thing for a struggling couple! And I like fajitas, so it works out very nicely.
It sure is nice being able to take your wife out for dinner, let me tell you. I am blessed to be able to do so. It's a little thing, a simple thing, but it means a lot to both of us.
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Anyway, it's cold outside and dark and I'm not working on the Jeep now. Maybe tomorrow.